April 4, 2014
The closing concert for the sixth season of the Guitar Plus chamber music concert series (Artistic Director David Leisner) took place March 27th at Symphony Space in New York City featuring a program of minimalist music written and transcribed for guitar.......................
Guitarist Benjamin Verdery, head of the guitar department at Yale University’s School of Music and Artistic Director of the 92nd Street Y’s Art of the Guitar series and Yale Guitar Extravaganza, performed mesmerizing and meditative Soepa, which was written for him in 1999 by composer Ingram Marshall. Performed on an amplified classical guitar routed through digital delay, the piece creates loops and echoes built upon quotations from the B-flat Major Prelude of Book 1 of J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.
Guitarist Benjamin Verdery invokes the string gods.
Marshall says he chose this motif because Bach’s music happened to be sitting open on his piano the day he started to work on this piece. As a way of explaining the title, “It means ‘patience’ in Tibetan, according to the Dalai Lama, who talks about this concept in his book, Healing Anger,” Marshall says, per the program liner notes. “I am not sure if this refers to Ben’s patience with me in writing the piece or my own meditation on the idea that the more anxious you become about something the less likely it is to happen the way you want it to.”
Onstage, Verdery appeared to be surrounded rather impressively by five small Marshall amps but he did not use any of them. “I was plugged into the house system,” Verdery says. “The speakers were above me. The amps were used by the Dublin Guitar Quartet.” For the piece, he used a Jam Man Delay Looper pedal made by Digitech and, to improve the overall sound, a Fishman Aura Spectrum with his Gary Lee guitar, which is outfitted with a B-band pickup system. “I will always love my Smallman,” he says, “but I felt the desire to change guitars after twenty-five years.”
The evening’s performers take a bow. Photo by Julia Crowe.
Dublin Guitar Quartet, Benjamin Verdery, Brasil Guitar Duo, David Leisner
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